I'm going through those phobias one by one, like smitten kitchen talked about on her blog. Last week jam, this week canning.
I decided to make more jam, because I brought the cherry plum jam to a party and it all got eaten. This time I went for peach, as I had some softish peaches and apricots rolling around in my fridge. I added a little amaretto and some sugar and cooked them down.
It melded beautifully, the amaretto and peach. It added an adult edge to the jam without dampening the soft peachy flavor.
Here are the key things I've learned about canning:
1. Use clean (or new) jars
2. Use new lids each time
3. Add whatever you're canning after you've boiled it to minimize bacteria
4. Place jars on something to keep them slightly above the bottom of the pan
5. Fill with water 1/2- 2/3 up the side of the jar
6. Simmer for 10 minutes with lid on
I did all this (used a strainer to keep it off the bottom) and it worked great, that bubble pop top went down like magic. And now I am the proud owner of one can of jam.
(Likely if you were going to can more than one jar you might need some fancy apparatus)
Peach, apricot and amaretto jam
Makes 1-2 small jars
3 big peaches, very ripe
1/2 cup sugar
Peel peaches, leave peel on apricots. Cut and put in pan. I left the pits in there and pulled them out later. Put in sugar, salt, and amaretto, cook x 15 minutes on low heat until sugar dissolves. Turn heat up to medium, simmer until thickened. Pull out pits. Taste and adjust sugar/amaretto/salt. Pour into jars while still hot. Can as described above (or eat right away, or freeze).
So easy to play with this. Use whatever fruit you have leftover, add whatever flavorings sound good to you (liqueurs, spices, lemon/lime zest). Cook til done!